Clearwater-based long-haul truck Trapper (“Just call me Trapper.”) doesn’t think the proposed roundabout on Highway 5 in Clearwater would be a good idea.
“I don’t know why we need a circle here,” he said. “It would just be a nuisance for us, for truck drivers in general.”
Most curves on highways are angled inwards to counteract centrifugal force. On a roundabout, there is a raised disk or truck apron in the middle for truckers to trail their inside wheels on. That means the load is, in fact, leaning towards the outside of the curve.
That might not sound like much, but for trucks hauling liquid loads, especially with an inexperienced driver, it could be a recipe for disaster, Trapper said.
Much would depend on the engineering. A roundabout in Edmonton at St. Albert Street and 111th is a good example of one that works well. On the other hand, there is a roundabout in northern Ontario that truckers detour through a national park to avoid.
“Do you want us on your road or do you want us in your national park?” he asked.
The roundabout is being proposed to improve safety and to highlight the road to Wells Gray Park, he said.
However, he felt there are cheaper and less intrusive alternatives.
If there is concern about students crossing the highway unsafely, the place to start is education, Trapper believed.
Better enforcement of speed limits also would help. Clearwater used to have a reputation with long-distance truckers as a place to slow down, but no longer, he said.
“There’re all kinds of ways to highlight the road to Wells Gray Park,” he added. “There’s lots of room for a big sign by the highway. You could use beautiful wood or whatever.”
“A roundabout is a traffic control device. It’s not meant for advertising.”
Most people don’t appreciate the contribution truck drivers make to the economy, Trapper felt.
“I’ve got to go for the economy to go, and I need coffee and food to go. If you begrudge me my coffee, you can do without your pantyhose,” he said.
The long-distance trucker believed the roundabout will go ahead, no matter what, and that the trucking community will adapt.
“We’re professionals. That’s what we do,” he said.
“You’re going to put a big bottleneck in the only 84 tonne route across B.C.,” he added. “You’ve got to ask why.”